Venue Spotlight: Timber Cove

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All images by Christina McNeil

After an extensive (and totally gorgeous!) renovation, we were so excited to head back to Timber Cove for our end-of-the-year retreat with the Alison Events team. This seaside property, situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is everything a California bride could want: rugged, relaxed, sophisticated, a hippie chic-meets-modern hotel with ‘60s styling, indulgent farm-to-table cuisine, and a plethora of spaces for both indoor and outdoor celebrations.

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Our retreat embraced that casual, woodsy vibe, with invitations that combined raw denim and cork, fresh and textured flowers drawing inspiration from the coastal setting, and a tablescape that mixed Timber Cove’s luxe lodge vibe with the property’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture.

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The rooms and suites, with stone and wood accents and a mix of ocean and forest views, are as inviting as they come. There are 46 rooms on-site, plenty of space for an intimate wedding weekend surrounded by your closest friends. Tuck 60 people into the Ansel Adams room, with panoramic views and a redwood deck, to immerse yourselves in the hotel’s history and identity as an artist’s destination.

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Photography: Christina McNeil // Venue: Timber Cove // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Stationery: Yonder Design // Floral Design: Shotgun Floral Studio // Dinnerware, Flatware, and Glassware: Frances Lane // Rentals: Bright Rentals // Linens: La Tavola // Catering: Coast Kitchen // Wine: Jessica Lasky Catering


Venue Spotlight: The Barn at Green Valley

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Images by Sally Pinera

Tucked away in the hills of Napa Valley is a breathtaking barn venue like no other. The Barn at Green Valley is a secluded escape, a relaxed and welcoming property where you won’t know if you’re still in California or if the winding drive somehow transported you to the fields of Provence. Custom-built in 2015 for the owner’s daughter’s wedding, it’s now part of the Event Space Consulting family — and available to rent for your own wedding!

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The centerpiece is the barn itself, with a perfectly pitched roof, stone patio, and massive barn doors just begging to frame your ceremony. The covered veranda oozes refined Southern charm, just the place for cocktails on a warm Napa evening or an open-air dinner for a smaller crowd.

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Inside, the custom bar area is lit with vintage Edison bulbs, and the 8,000 square foot space easily seats 250 guests for a seated dinner or 350 for a standing reception. So whether you’re envisioning an indulgent multi-course meal (prepared in the property’s on-site catering kitchen!) or an evening of mingling and delicious libations, there’s space for everything. Follow the curved staircase up to the open-air loft, where you can sneak away for a moment to toast as newlyweds — or send the kids to play once the party gets underway!

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To really show off what the space can do, Jesse created an incredible shoot and opening party for some of our dearest friends in the industry. Found Vintage Rentals created the most inviting vignettes, Casa de Perrin helped set a stunning table, and Tulipina Design tucked breathtaking blooms on every surface. Élan Artists set the tone for an easy, relaxing afternoon, and Estate Events at Meadowood served an indulgent meal, delicious cocktails, and wine made from grapes grown on the property. And the incredible photography? Sally Pinera really outdid herself!

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The shoot itself captured the intimate, isolated nature of the property. Icy blue and misty lavender hues popped against the dark wood and warm leather of the space. Rich velvets and soft linen added a lush feel to the furnishings, and garden-inspired centerpieces dripped over the tables.

Looking to escape for your wedding (while still celebrating just 20 minutes from Napa Valley and 40 minutes from San Francisco)? Look no further than the Barn at Green Valley. We can’t wait to see what sort of stunning celebration takes over the space next.

Photography: Sally Pinera Photography // Venue: The Barn at Green Valley // Planning & Design: Jesse Tombs of Event Space Consulting / Alison Events // Floral Design: Tulipina Design // Rental Furniture: Found Vintage Rentals // Tabletop: Casa de Perrin // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens, Silk and Willow // Paper Design: Yonder Design, Broadsheet Design // Calligraphy: Little Miss Press // Catering: Estate Events by Meadowood // Entertainment: Elan Artists


Venue Spotlight: Annadel Gardens

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If you’re thinking of getting married in Sonoma, you have the pick of the litter when it comes to absolutely gorgeous vineyard venues. One of our favorites? Annadel Estate Winery. This Northern California estate has an elegant, turn-of-the-century feel, with the ruins of the 19th-century winery at the heart of it all. The open-air courtyard is surrounded by hand-hewn stone walls that are over 12 feet high, providing an intimate setting beneath the stars.

Annadel is also known for its flowers, producing lush garden roses and stunning hydrangeas that surround the wedding venue (and make up some of the incredible decor). Nearby, a rustic barn sits behind a sprawling oak tree. The barn is more than just a rain plan, with perfectly distressed beams that offer a more rustic backdrop. And a clapboard Bridal Cottage is the ideal spot to primp before the ceremony or set up a babysitter for younger guests. Annadel really has it all!

This historic estate has been given a new life, and it’s a spectacular place to begin yours.

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Ten San Francisco Rehearsal Dinner Spots

If you’re considering a wedding in the San Francisco area, then you should definitely check out our list of great spots to host a rehearsal dinner. So many great options in this city, it’s hard to narrow down, but these are our top 10, in no particular order:

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Central Kitchen (ok, well all of the Flour + Water private dining rooms, really). Great food, lots of different areas for different party sizes, and the pasta tasting menu is amazing. Have more that 25 people? The courtyard fits 40 for a semi-private buyout and boasts a nice layout.

Bar Agricole. The private dining room fits 40, and the patio is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails (which are fabulous).

La Mar. This Peruvian seafood joint has one gorgeous view. And the patio seats 100 guests.

AQ The look and feel of the restaurant changes every season, as does the menu. You can invite two dozen loved ones to join you in their cellar room.

Town Hall. Perfect for about 40 people, and for Southern and comfort-loving foodies.

Tosca. You can fit up to 32 people at this former dive bar. Chef April Bloomfield always serves stellar cocktails and Italian cuisine.

Park Tavern. -The Eden room seats 50 and the burger is simply amazing.

Wayfare Tavern. Chef Tyler Florence’s restaurant that serves upscale bar food done right. Choose from two private rooms—one for 16 and one for 50.

Foreign Cinema. Want a beautiful outdoor setting? Consider buying out the courtyard, where you can even play movies on the large wall. The food is consistently great.

Cotogna. With 50 guests you can buy out the restaurant (which is a sister spot to Quince) and have a rustic Italian feast.


Venue Spotlight: Solage Resort

We’ve been lucky to work at Solage Resort, in Calistoga, California, on many occasions. The Napa venue always offers a clean slate to design from, picturesque views, and bikes to ride around on while you take it all in. Below, a taste of what the special location can offer, with photos by Jesse Leake.

Caroline and Matt are a Canadian couple who fell in love with Solage for it’s stunning natural surroundings in the heart of Calistoga. Shades of pinks, grays, greens, and whites softened the rustic wood tables and chairs that decorated the dining room overlooking the ceremony. Guest enjoyed a uniquely satisfying dinner of friend chicken and corn on the cob, and danced into the early hours of the morning to Canadian tunes.

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Also check out Lauren and Darrin’s opalescent charmer and Kathryn and Jeff’s punchy party, which both took place at Solage too.

Venue Spotlight: Be Tulum, Mexico

Alison Events has been fortunate enough to have done five weddings at Be Tulum (and five others in the Riviera Maya area). This small and quaint venue gives you the feeling like you’re staying at a friend’s house—one with amazing taste. The staff are friendly and personable and the location couldn’t be better. Hello white sand beach! When you’re dipping in and out of the water, the day beds make it even that much more relaxing. As for food and bev, try their margaritas or the delicious cactus Chaya smoothie (a fave of Alison’s).

For weddings, it’s great to keep the guest list under 55. This boutique hotel has 20 rooms, so that way you can fit everyone there toggether. Plus, an intimate gathering where you can dine and dance under the stars really can’t be beat.

Olivia and Pete went for a colorful yet understated celebration after getting hitched on the beach.

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Katie and Chris also said “I Do” with their feet in the sand, and then followed that with a reception inspired by sand and sea.

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And Ranjana and Tim’s wedding had tons of pop thanks to tropical hues and a total Mexican theme and even featured a 5K race that morning (quite a nod to the couple’s first meeting while running in a marathon)!

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This area in Mexico boasts loads of activities to enjoy. Here’s a bunch of suggestions for a trip to the area:

TULUM RUINS: This archaeological site sits on a cliff overlooking the brilliant turquoise waters of the Caribbean. It’s just a quick 15 minute taxi ride or 30 minute bike ride from Be Tulum. Go early to avoid the crowds.

SIAN KA’AN BIOSPHERE: In the Mayan language, Sian Ka’an means “born from the sky”. This nature preserve is a magical place, characterized by its bio-diversity: jungle, marsh, mangrove lagoons, shallow bays, and an extraordinary coral reef. You can drive there on your own, but 4-wheel drive vehicles are highly reccomended because the road is not paved. It’s about a two hour drive to Punta Allen where you can hire a boat guide from the visitor center for a tour of the mangroves and some great snorkeling. There are also organized tours that start in Tulum itself. Definitely set aside a whole day for this adventure.

CENOTES: Characteristic of the Yucatan Peninsula, cenotes are natural freshwater sinkholes that form when the roof of a limestone cavern collapses. Swim around stalagmites and stalactites, which have formed for thousands of years. There are many public cenotes along the road to Tulum as well as on the way to Coba. Just follow the signs. Most charge a small entrance fee.  There are also a couple of cenotes in Tulum, but they are top secret:-)

COBA RUINS: Coba dates back to the Classic Period, 600 to 900 AD, after which it was abandoned for unknown reasons. At its height Coba supported up to 45,000 inhabitants. The city is thought to have been an important trading post and a commercial link between the cities on the coast and those inland. Less than one hour from Tulum, it is different from the other big sites in the Yucatan. It’s situated between four natural lakes, which is a rare sight in the Yucatan. These lakes are believed to have given the city its name, which means “Waters stirred by wind”. Furthermore, it is not as excavated or reconstructed as Chichen Itza or Tulum. The majority of Coba is still covered by the growth of the jungle, making it a wild place that truly triggers your imagination. Test your bravery and climb the large pyramid onsite. The views from the top are breathtaking but the journey down is not for the faint of heart.DIVING: Enjoy the spectacular underwater world. There are dozens of dive shops both in town and on the beach. Check out the Cenote Dive Center or Aquatic Tulum for reef and cave diving.

And our top pics of where to eat and drink…

HARTWOOD: fresh local food, good looking staff, relaxed vibe, and a wood-fired oven. Located on the jungle side of the road. Chef hails from Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn. Great spot for an informal small rehearsal or family dinner. Get there early or be prepared to wait upwards of an hour for a table. No big deal though, your on mexico time so you can go across the street for a glass of wine and watch the sunset or sit at their bar and have the watermelon tequila concoction.

MATEO’S: Yummy tacos with fresh salsa & guacamole and the best margharita’s in town. Great day time spot. They also rent beach bikes and have a smoothie bar:-)

CASA JAGUAR: Caribbean ingredients prepared with Southeast Asian inspired flavors. Delicious ceviche. Terrific cocktails. Romantic setting so better at night.

LA ZEBRA: Located directly on the beach, La Zebra is the best choice for families with kids. Enjoy your ceviche on the lounge bed and the freshly caught main dish on the table by the beach. They also have a great salsa night on Sunday’s…

POSADA MARGARITA: If you love people-watching, this is the place to be.  Many photo shoots happen at this place…Organic handmade bread and pasta dishes both made daily. A great wine menu and the best gelato. Get the chocolate and coconut!

ZAMAS: Beachside bar and restaurant overlooking a small bay on the north end of the Tulum strip. Known for the colorful chairs and tables and simple mexican cuisine. A great anytime spot. Sometimes they have live music at night…. Be sure to leave your high heels at home as drinks in the sand feels better barefoot. Many photo shoots have been filmed here, so don’t be surprised if there are girls in bikini’s walking around.

PEPENERO: A little place in town (not on the beach) with live music and DJs on weekends. Popular with tourists and locals alike. Cab it from the beach, about a ten minute ride.

COQUI COQUI: This hotel located just across from Hartwood is a hot spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset before heading to dinner. An added bonus is that they make their own perfume, so it’s definitely worth checking out their little boutique.

AGUACHILES: Looking for a local dive? This place is in town (or “the pueblo” to the locals) and has the best, and the cheapest, tacos by far.

PAPAYA PLAYA: Wanna dance? Swing by this hotel/restaurant on a Saturday night. That’s when the locals hit the floor to electronic music.

HOTEL MEZZANINE: Here’s another night spot to consider. On Thursday nights the club is transformed in the style of 1940’s Cuba.

EL TABANO: Another great restaurant and destination for a rehearsal dinner for 50 and under. Dine under the palapa with the jungle as your view. Check out pics below from Olivia and Pete’s rehearsal dinner that took place here.

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Photos by Thayer Allyson Gowdy // Mel Barlow // Jesse Leake.